While technical and academic skills are undeniably important, soft skills play a crucial role in various areas of life, from professional to interpersonal relationships. What do we mean when we talk about “soft” skills (also “soft”, from the English soft skills , essential or non-cognitive)? They have to do with our way of working: they include interpersonal skills such as communication or listening skills, time management, or empathy.
These personal skills are increasingly valued by hiring managers. A person may have excellent technical and job-specific skills, but if he cannot manage his time or work as a team, he may not be successful in his job.
Transverse and permanent
Although they are especially important in customer-oriented jobs , soft skills are important for success in the professional field, regardless of what it is, since all workers require some type of relationship with other people. In addition, they are transferable and can be used even if one changes tasks.
Soft skills can be personal attributes, personality characteristics, and communication skills necessary to succeed at work. Likewise, they determine how a person interacts with others.
Some types of soft skills include:
- Creative thinking.
- Work ethic.
- Ability to work as a team.
- Positive thinking.
- Effective time management.
- Ability to resolve problems and conflicts.
- Critical thinking.
How to develop soft skills?
Unlike technical skills, which are learned, soft skills are interpersonal skills that are exercised through dealings and relationships with others. They are more difficult to learn and evaluate, at least in a traditional classroom.
For this reason, some job skills programs cover soft skills. They may address them so job seekers know what they are and the importance of highlighting them on their resume.
If you’ve been working for a while, you may have developed some soft skills. For example, if you have worked in stores, you have surely worked in a team. If you’ve helped dissatisfied customers find a solution, you’ve used conflict resolution and problem-solving skills.
Adaptability and collaboration
In today’s world of work the ability to work as a team, communicate effectively and solve problems creatively has become as valuable as technical expertise. Soft skills, including emotional intelligence, leadership and empathy, are critical to success in any career.
Companies look not only for individuals with strong technical skills, but also those who can easily adapt to changing environments and collaborate efficiently with colleagues.
Soft skills are essential in building and maintaining strong relationships. Empathy, active listening and the ability to express ideas clearly contribute to the quality of personal relationships. These skills not only improve communication, but also strengthen the ability to understand and respect differences, promoting harmonious coexistence in all aspects of life.
On the other hand, we live in a world characterized by constant and rapid changes. The ability to adapt and recover in the face of challenges is vital. Soft skills, such as resilience and flexibility, allow people to face difficult situations with a positive mindset and learn from adverse experiences. These skills not only help overcome obstacles, but also foster personal and professional growth.
Effective communication and leadership
The ability to communicate effectively is essential in all aspects of life. Whether in a presentation, everyday conversation, or a job interview, the ability to express ideas clearly and persuasively is key. Developing soft skills such as oral and written communication improves the ability to convey messages effectively, which is essential in any environment.
Effective leadership and successful collaboration are built on strong soft skills. Inspiring leaders not only have technical skills, but they also know how to motivate, guide and connect with their team. Effective collaboration, on the other hand, involves the ability to work harmoniously with diverse people, leveraging individual strengths to achieve common goals.
A comprehensive profile
Developing soft skills in education is essential to preparing students for success in all areas of life. By combining technical skills with soft skills, a comprehensive profile is created that not only stands out in the professional field, but also enriches personal relationships and contributes to general well-being.
Fostering these skills from a young age not only benefits individuals, but also strengthens society as a whole by cultivating capable and conscientious citizens.
Author Bios: Guillermo José Navarro del Toro is a Research Professor and Luis Enrique Romo González is Chair Professor both at the University of Guadalajara